Columbia, SC – Lions Vision Services (LVS) has been awarded a $50,000 Connected Communities grant by Central Carolina Community Foundation. The grant will fund LVS’ Envision the Midlands program focused on expanding access to an innovative solution to vision health that will save sight for individuals experiencing poverty.
“The first way we connect, process, and interact with our community is through our sight. When we lose our sight, we lose a vital part of our community connection,” says Daniel Prohaska, President & CEO of Lions Vision Services. “When poverty compounds vision loss, it creates a downward spiral of depression, isolation, hopelessness, fear, and other negative physical side effects that can trap a vulnerable person in a cycle of poverty and dependence on cumbersome government assistance. Thanks to the Connected Communities grant, we’re breaking that cycle by saving sight and reconnecting communities in new neighborhoods across the Midlands.”
The Community Foundation’s $50,000 award to LVS is expanding its legacy Affordable Eye Surgery Program during the Catalyst Campaign, a two-year capacity-building initiative designed to upscale this innovative model. Funds will provide eye surgeries in zip codes throughout the 11-county Midlands region that have been unserved by LVS programs in the last three years and will also provide increased financial assistance to clients to cover pre-op and post-op physician appointments, an expense not historically covered by LVS’s Eye Surgery Program due to limited financial resources. During the grant period, two community outreach health fairs will be led by LVS in Clarendon and Fairfield Counties to intentionally expand access to eyecare in rural areas with a high prevalence of blindness and vision loss.
On average LVS clients experience a 45% increase in quality of life and a 75% increase in understanding of the importance of vision health following participation in LVS programs. With a statewide network of partners including ophthalmologists, anesthesiologists, and surgery centers who assist LVS in providing affordable eye surgeries, LVS can leverage every $1 raised into an additional $4 in services, bringing the total impact of CCCF’s grant on the Midlands community to $200,000, increasing philanthropy across the region.
The purpose of the Connected Communities grant program is to help organizations launch projects that improve the quality of life in the Midlands by building a more livable, equitable and just community to live, work, play and raise a family. Lions Vision Services was one of 12 nonprofit organizations receiving a Connected Communities grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation this year.
Individuals interested in inquiring about financial assistance with eye surgeries can contact LVS at (803) 796-1304.
Lions Vision Services (LVS) was created by the Lions Clubs of South Carolina in 1969 and exists today to empower the under-served blind and visually impaired in South Carolina to live safe, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. LVS offers a range of programs and services to low-income South Carolina residents who apply for need-based financial assistance with obtaining eye exams, eyeglasses, affordable eye surgeries, and vision technology. Free vision screenings are provided to promote early detection and correction of vision impairments. Each spring the organization hosts a Blind Fishing event and manages quarterly meetings of the Palmetto Vision Alliance. To learn more about LVS’s services, visit www.lionsvisionservices.org.